SRINAGAR: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday called for greater use of generic drugs in Jammu and Kashmir (JK) that would allow access to drugs for poor patients.
Urging doctors to prescribe generic drugs, President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued here said this would help patients to get affordable treatment as branded drugs are out of reach for poor people.
“In JK, 21.63% population, comprising of 24.21 lakh people, don’t have access to medicines due to lack of purchasing power. 90.39 percent population in our state purchase medicines through out-of-pocket payments. Research has shown that out-of-pocket costs were lowered significantly among patients who were prescribed generic medicines compared with patients who had been given branded drugs,” he said.
Additionally, patients who had been prescribed generic drugs were more likely to follow medication therapies, he added.
Hassan said it was because of generic drugs that saved millions of lives of patients with AIDS. “While generic drugs account for 88% of prescriptions in United States, in JK, unnecessary expensive therapies are used when less costly, equally effective options are available.”
“More education for both doctors and patients would increase the prescriptions and use of generic medications. Generic drug is equal to a brand-name drug in strength, quality and efficacy and costs, 80 to 90% less than a branded drug,” he said.
DAK president said a pharma company that develops a branded drug gets patent protection that prohibits other manufacturers from producing the drug for a period of 20 years.
Considering the importance of generic drugs, World Trade Organization (WTO) members during the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS (Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) allowed governments to issue compulsory licenses that would allow companies to manufacture generic version of patented product.
Under The Indian Patent Act, 1970, a compulsory license to manufacture a drug can be issued after 3 years of grant of a patent on the product, if the product is still not available at affordable prices.